Saturday, July 17, 2010

37Flood Interviews Scott Carney

I got the chance to sit down with Scott Carney of Wax Fang on Sunday of Forecastle. Scott came with friend and fellow local musician Saredren Wells who has an album out on the louisvilleisforlovers record label. The recording of the interview begins with Wells talking about a church service he went to and the somewhat loose concept of god that was proffered there. That’s where we’ll pick things up…

Scott Carney: Now if someone could only event a God decoder ring…

Dylan Greenwood: …and put it in a box of cereal.

SC: One lucky person will find the God decoder ring!

Saredren Wells: It’s like Willy Wonka.

SC: Exactly.

DG: So, how’s the festival treating you so far?

SC: Good!

DG: What have been the highlights of the shows so far for you?

SC: I thoroughly enjoyed the Broken Spurs when I saw them yesterday. They were pretty awesome. They hit my rock bone. I caught some of Devo. They were fun. Smashing Pumpkins, I saw about five songs, but I only knew one of them. They sounded good and sounded tight, I’m just not really familiar with them.

DG: Yeah, the Broken Spurs really rock out with their cock out, don’t they?

SC: Sometimes literally, I could imagine.

DG: Well, as I told you before, I never caught one of the Purple Rain shows, so what are the chances I’ll get to see it?

SC: I’d say the chances are… cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

DG: That’s too bad.

SC: There is a possibility we might don the purple cape again, so to speak. But if we did it’d probably be just one more time.

DG: Just one more?

SC: We might take it out of town on a trip for a weekend or something, but we won’t do it again in Louisville, that’s for certain.

DG: Of all the albums to choose from, why did you choose that one?

SC: I guess, in a way it chose us. I was reading in the newspaper that that strip club downtown called “Fats” was busted on Thunder Over Louisville night in 2008 in a police ring that was entitled “Operation Purple Rain”…

DG: Really!

SC: No fucking shit!

SW: That’s awesome!

SC: I read this like a month ago in the Courier or something. So I think then the seed was planted. And it was just a matter of time before it caught back up with us.

DG: That’s awesome! So, I know you’re recording a new album, what should the Wax Fang fans expect?

SC: Ew… I don’t know. Well, I do know. The question is do I want to tell you?

DG: Just lay it out there, man.

SC: I’m just fucking with ya.

DG: It’s just me and you.

SC: Just me and you, and your three million subscribers! Um, I’m kind of looking at it as sort of like a bridge between the first album that I made and La La Land. In that it has a little bit of both of those styles. There’s definitely some dark, heavy stuff, some bona fided doom and gloom, but there’s some fun, poppy songs as well. Trying to keep it simple really. I don’t think this album is going to have the extravagance of La La Land with all the bells and whistles. We’re trying to just rein it in and see what we can do. I can be a fan of minimalism a lot of the time. We’re actually going to the studio tomorrow morning for the next ten days and that’s the way I’m approaching it at least for now but we’ll see how it goes once the wheels get turning.

DG: So, you recorded the first album on your own, right?

SC: Right.

DG: How do you separate that with what you’re doing now? Is it a lot different?

SC: Um, it is different once you start getting people involved, especially with this one. With La LA Land a lot of those songs were written when the band got together so it was merely a matter of me explaining how they went to the band. With this newer stuff we’ve been writing stuff as a band and I’m also bringing in songs that I’ve composed in my head, so it’s a blend. This record will be a lot more diverse, process-wise than the others.

DG: So I’ve got to ask you the question everyone asks, about influences. Besides Prince, I hear a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel in your music.

SC: I could see that.

DG: What would you say are your main influences as a band?

SC: Um (laughs) (laughs again)

SW: Cher.

SC: Cher!

DG: Cher? Yeah, I could see that, she’s got those ass tattoos. You can’t stop that.

SC: And for me it all goes back to, like, golden oldies. That’s like my overall favorite genre of music. When I’m not in the mood to listen to anything else I just put it on the oldies station. I’ve always done that, just growing up with my Dad. My parents were always big Beatles fan. My mom actually saw the Beatles play in Indianapolis or something when they toured America. I’ve just love that era of music, like late 50s, 60s music, even moreso than the 70s prog, the 80s hair metal, the 90s grunge, the aughts indie rock sweepstakes…

DG: Very cool. I know you have got the Little Big Muff on your pedal board. Is that your go-to pedal?

SC: It’s not. It’s actually a standard Big Muff and I literally use it as an on/off switch with my theramin.

DG: Oh, really?

SC: Yeah, it’s too noisy for my signal chain. I play a lot of notes so I just don’t really get a clean, crisp thing. I mean it’s a different sound on it’s own, but it’s not very versatile, it’s not versatile enough for me to use. I’m kind of looking to expand, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but I’m kind of looking to expand my pedal collection. I’ve already got like eight pedals! I’m designing something now that I’m hoping to build a stand for and get a couple new pedals and maybe I’ll work that in. But for the time being, my thermain, the way I have it run it, cause my theramin and guitar go into a switcher that goes through my entire guitar signal chain, and if the theramin doesn’t have something in front of it, the signal is so powerful, that if something isn’t in front of it blocking it, you can still hear it. Like if you’re playing a quiet muffled guitar you hear “EEEEEEEE!” It’s not favorable to the band.

DG: That’s cool. I just remember the first time I saw you and I saw that Big Muff on your pedal board and thought, “These guys are awesome!”

SC: (laughs) Actually I use a Ratt pedal.

DG: And how do you use that?

SC: (laughing) I turn it on when I want to hear it and I turn it off when I don’t.

(everyone laughs)

SW: That’s how it works.

SC: It just works really well with the Danelectro and the supercoil pickup and my Fender amp. It’s like a really smooth, creamy distortion. It sounds really nice with reverb, it’s not very noisy. It kind of sucks some of bass tone out which is unfortunate but a lot stuff I play is so high-pitched squealing anyway that it’s fine.

DG: Well, I love your stuff, man. I mean the music and the solos especially take you to another place.

SC: Awesome.

DG: I appreciate you sitting down with me.

SC: Not a problem, thanks for having me!


Cory said...

How'd you interview Scott on my couch? I didn't get a chance to interview Scott on my couch! ha

johnking said...

where's that couch now? i need one, and one that has devo butt fibers on it would be tops.

DYLAN said...

Actually I interviewed him on a bench in the VIP section. I asked him if he wanted to go to the media tent but he said "nah, let's just do it out here". Maybe he got bad vibes from your couch.